Squash Beetles Have Also Arrived

I posted yesterday about my first vine borer sighting of the year.

I’ve noticed quite a few batches of squash beetle eggs too.

I kill adult squash beetles without much mercy, because they’re pretty terrible in terms of rapid reproduction and spreading plant disease. Their recently-hatched nymphs kind of gross me out too – they hide in clusters and move like robots together.

 

Known vector of plant diseases and pure stink.

Known vector of plant diseases and pure stink.

But I’ve also found that I can drastically reduce beetle populations pretty late into the growing season by getting rid of eggs before they hatch.

My approach is to carry some tweezers every time I go out in the garden, and burst the eggs one by one. It’s kind of gross (pro tip: keep your mouth closed).

Here’s what it looks like before and after:

Are there better approaches to removing squash beetles and their eggs without using pesticides? Let me know!

 

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Vine Borers Have Arrived

I was going around checking plants for bugs last night when I noticed a couple of leaves near the base of a pumpkin vine had wilted.

On a really hot day, that wouldn’t have been a big deal, but it was only about 80 degrees.

Not good.

I inspected the base of the vine and saw what I didn’t want to see: evidence of a vine borer.

This one wasn’t the worst I’ve seen, but still, this vine wasn’t going to last much longer, so I pulled it.

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Call it what it is: bug poop.

 

There were even some larvae further up the vine:

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So, down one pumpkin vine, we move on with summer. This particular vine had yet to produce any fruit, and it was encroaching on several other plants, so all in all, this will be okay. My gardening philosophy includes planting too much stuff and allowing some to get eaten or die of other causes, so this doesn’t hurt too much.

However, that doesn’t mean I want to be complacent about this. I was probably too cavalier about ignoring the vine borer threat to all the vines I planted, so I just went around with a toothbrush and some neem oil, hoping to:

  1. Brush off any eggs on the vines that haven’t hatched.
  2. Apply the neem oil to kill or deter any borers interested in laying new eggs or trying to break into the vine.

I did see a few spots on other vines where borers might already be inside. If they progress I might try a little vine surgery and see if I can extract them. We’ll see!